Whiskey 188 Recruit Journal: Week 07

Recruit Journal Whiskey 188
Formed: Sept. 10, 2013
Graduates: Nov. 1, 2013

International Maritime Signal Flag Whiskey

International Maritime Signal Flag Whiskey

21OCT13

Week 07 already! We are the senior company the next two weeks and it feels good. Our company is already acting more mature and responsible knowing we absolutely need to set an example and without a doubt, be the best company on the regiment.

Our routine changed up a bit this week and all our meals are about 90 minutes to 02 hours later than usual, with the same wake up time of 0530. It’s tougher because, we workout now, first thing, for a couple hours, then eat breakfast. Today was so long and we all felt it. I’ve never seen our whole company so tired before. Even standing in class, people couldn’t keep their eyes open. It was basically impossible to stay awake at all today unless we were eating. Maybe all the sugar on Saturday just finally hit us.

Also, some of us have been getting double watch standings, and each round, you’re up 2 hours in the middle of the night working building security. This only leaves us about 3 hours of sleep each night, max 05. Maybe our bodies will get used to it eventually, but some of us even feel our vision is worse, blurry, because we are sleep deprived. I guess we’ll just have a lot of catching up to do on our weekends/ off-time after graduation. It’s all worth it, it’s just hard right now because, we don’t want to fall asleep and get reverted! You have to choose your battles here. If we’re tired, we stand up, if we’re going somewhere, we run because we would rather all get in trouble to slow down then to not be fast enough.

We also did first-aid training class today and prepared for any case where we would have to perform CPR on infants, children and adults. We like that they prepare us for anything, and are really beginning to feel well- rounded and prepared for the fleet.
Some of us still haven’t contacted our units and haven’t had an opportunity to do much research still, so we hope we have time this week to reach out to them! We’re a little stressed and nervous about this big life changing move and just hope it all turns out smoothly!

After a weight-training workout, a long bike workout, and bouts of body weight training throughout the day, on top of classes, we are all beyond exhausted. Another day down and tomorrow is a new day, hoping we get solid rest. We really need it to stay on our game!

22OCT13

Today was probably the best day we’ve had since we got our colors. We were all so tired all day, but kept a positive attitude and focused the best we could.
We had seamanship, took our final exam, and learned about line handling. There’s a mock ship, docks and all the equipment you’d find on a ship in the yard outside, and that’s where we threw and heaved the line. It’s always fun to do practical training with our shipmates because it brings us closer together and helps us understand what it will be like out in the fleet.
After 04 hours of seamanship, we finally had lunch! The only reason why I bring this up is because I’ve never seen people eat so much in my life. Some of our shipmate’s plates are insane. One person alone had: 04 hard boiled eggs, a bowl of cottage cheese and fruit, a bowl of broccoli and cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, chicken, pork, pasta, yams, rice, beans, apple, banana, 04 slices of bread, peanut butter, milk, orange juice and more that I can hardly remember. That’s only one meal too!

Our shipmates eat like animals, but it’s probably good because we’re up running around burning calories about 19 hours a day. It was pretty hilarious when my shipmate got stopped in the galley for having at least 4000 calories on her plate. Why not!? We burn it off anyway! Speaking of calories, we earned dessert and coffee privileges today!

We earned dessert and coffee because we got a perfect score on our close order drill test, a 10! Our Section Commander said we had an outstanding performance and our Lead Company Commander said it was the top 3 of any company he’s had. This made us so proud that we made both our Company Commanders proud. Our Company Commander who marched us did such a great job; it felt really good that we all came together and did our best today. We we’re all so nervous too! During our head breaks at seamanship, some of us worked one-on-one to help those of our shipmates who needed extra work, and we got a lot of the kinks out. It’s just that extra effort, the extra step, that is one step closer to excellence, and we took it. I can speak for all of us when I say, I’ve never been more proud to be a part of something so amazing and part of a company with so much heart, dedication, and will to succeed.

Today was also the first day some of us realized we only have 09 days left together, and it made us sad. We also realized, in the beginning, not a single one of us wanted to be here 05 more minutes and now, the way things were today and the last couple days, we’ve realized we could do this for 05 more months together. If things stayed the way they are now. We’re all so connected and used to each other and we all see the real person behind the scary Company Commander cover that really does care. It’s incredible how everything plays out, and looking back on all we have done already, we have come incredibly far, and none of this would be the way it is now without all the training and hell our leaders put us through.

23OCT13

The weather today really tested us to see how strong we actually are. It was so cold and raining all day and for half of it, we didn’t have our rain coats. Long sleeves don’t start until Nov 1st, so we got to stand outside in short sleeves, in the cold and toughen up a little bit. It definitely sucked. That’s the only word that best describes it, but it’s not the worst that could happen, and our Company Commanders are really good at making us as strong as possible, but tomorrow better be nice, or we’re all going to be sick for graduation.
We did our line handling practical today at seamanship, also in the cold and rain. It was pretty cool to be on a mock ship deck and pier performing actual tasks we’ll need to complete daily on a cutter or small boat. Our instructor always makes seamanship fun and we enjoy all his jokes and experiences he shares with us. He really has made such a difference in our lives here at boot camp since our first class with him. Some people don’t know the impact they have on people, and he definitely made boot camp the best it could be for us with all his support, generosity and patience with both Whiskey and Victor at the same time. He will be missed by all of us, but will always be a good story to share when we talk about boot camp, and a positive influence and motivator for all future companies lucky enough to have him!

Getting closer to graduation, we are trying to put the pieces together for travel, transportation arrangements and new unit information, on top of classes, finals, inspections, missions on the schedule, workouts and so on. We’re super busy balancing all of these things with medical and dental and administration appointments and it’s not really an option to write a letter or have a moment of personal time.

It’s crunch time, and we have another final exam Friday, verbal exam Monday, inspection Monday and all need to be perfect, or we could get sent back or reverted 02 weeks. It all comes down to the ones that are prepared for the fleet and those that need more time. It’s scary to think on week 08 someone could leave our company, especially because everyone that’s here now is actually trying so hard, and anyone not trying has already left us.

We really hope, and pray every night together as a company, that we all stay together and all 36 of us graduate. But it will take a big effort. We will be using the next 08 days to focus on studying, cleaning, ironing, polishing, studying and more studying, so if you don’t hear from us, that is why. The most important days are ahead of us and we can’t slow down now. We are a team, not just a company. We are friends, not just shipmates. We want to help each other succeed, we aren’t forced to. We want to make our Company Commanders, families and friends proud, and we will. We believe in ourselves finally, and it’s a good feeling.

24OCT13

All of today felt like a holiday at boot camp. Chiefs sat with us at lunch from Station New York, to answer questions about the fleet, we officially signed our orders, and even got 30 minutes of study time tonight before bed and our final exam tomorrow. To us, that is huge, and pretty close to a celebration.

We were all terrified that the Chiefs were going to pressure us about required knowledge, yell at us, and possibly revert us back 02 weeks, like all the stories we hear in passing. It was actually an amazing experience. They were very kind and helpful. Since they were here early enough today, they were able to observe us putting up colors this morning. Our colors team consists of a colors team captain and 05 shipmates to rig and raise the colors for mornings and evenings. We had about 40 or so chiefs and Captain Prestige all observing as we put them up this morning, and Captain even came over to us afterwards and said we did a really great job, that colors looked very good this morning. What an honor. This made us so happy because it’s so important and special to everyone here and we feel honored to have the opportunity to do them.

Signing our orders was also a huge deal for us today. What an adrenaline rush. It was so exciting to see it all out on paper and ready to go. We can’t believe how fast this week, and everything is going. It seems like forever ago that we even received our orders.

It seems like it’s been a year since we first arrived here. I can’t believe it’s only been 07 weeks. We all have grown so much in such a short time, and it’s mind blowing to see the new recruits forming their first few days, indoctrination weekend, and learning the basics the hard way, like we did 07 weeks ago. There is such a huge difference in even a week 03 from week 05 and watching the transitions unfold in junior companies is incredible for us to see. We were there once too, and we were that scared, that bad, and learned the hard way, but thankfully we learned quickly and it calmed down a little bit after week 06 was over.

It isn’t easy to sit in the galley and hear or see the forming company make little mistakes like walk the wrong way along the salad bar, or forget to sound off and scream everything, or step off with the left foot. As we sit there, we’re saying to ourselves “come on, man, sound off!” because we know what happens if you don’t. One recruit got 08 trackers for multiple things he was doing wrong on one of his first few days in the galley. It’s painful to listen to, and we want to help, but it’s all part of the training, and we did it too. They’ll figure it out, just like we did, and are still doing.

We did a tour today of the regiment and read up on all our Coast Guard history, legacy, heroes, Master Chief Petty Officers and so on. It was nice to see all the years of life saving and people that dedicated their entire adult life to saving others. It was very inspiring.

Everyday we are finding our Company Commanders more inspiring and motivating. It’s easy to find someone who can just kick your butt, it’s easy to find someone to coach your physical training, and it’s easy to find someone to mentally tear you apart or pick you up and make you feel accomplished and special. But, finding someone who can completely break you down mentally, physically and emotionally, completely kick your butt, scare you, challenge you, teach you, and pick you back up, encourage you, inspire, motivate and believe in you and be really good at it, is what we thought was impossible, but not for our Company Commanders. They do it all and they do a really amazing job at it. Only a recruit could fully understand, after going through it all. They have been the worst thing that has ever happened to us, turned into the best thing that has happened to us, and we will carry that on our whole lives.
It’s impossible to see it the first 05 weeks but we do now, and we without a doubt, have the best Company Commanders on the regiment. We still have to keep them happy for another week though! They expect a lot from us now and we appreciate and respect that.

25OCT13

I would consider today a turning point for all of us. It was definitely a life changing day, and I speak for all of us when I say we will never take this day for granted, and it will be one we remember forever.

To start this amazing day, we faced a challenge, a little healthy competition with Victor Company (our sister company). We had a rack making contest, best out of three. We completely demolished them and won. With the exception of our swim race, we have beaten them at almost everything, and one of our goals is to beat them overall in the end.

We can do it, our Company Commanders make us work for, and earn everything so we feel we can be more successful when we have to wait longer for things, learn the hard way, and appreciate what we are given. It works for us. We also won the uniform change-in change-out drill from physical fitness gear into boondockers and operational dress uniform. Finally consistently doing things right!

After all that, we took our final exam. It was half open book and half closed book. If you’ve been studying all along and staying on top of note taking, it wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t easy because it was timed. In the end, everyone passed!

We had the opportunity to do the pugil sticks against Victor today, and again, we kicked serious butt. It was hilarious to see all of us get so intense about fighting our height-comparable shipmate from Victor. It was nice to get some energy back by cheering on our shipmates and laughing together. We really enjoy how comical our Company Commanders can be when they want to. They really are hilarious when they want to be. Not laughing at all their jokes doesn’t get easier.

During pugil sticks, our Section Commander came and awarded us the Section Commander pennant for our colors. We did so well on our close order drill and manual of arms tests, that he felt we deserved it. We felt so proud and we were honored to attach it to our Whiskey Flag.

Each day seems to be getting better and better as we reach the light at the end of the tunnel. We are finally the senior company at choir as of last Friday and so this practice we had tonight was our last choir practice before our last service on Sunday. We’re sad it will be our last, but so thankful to have had the opportunity to even attend services and on top of that, sing in the choir.

The biggest turning point today was when our Lead Company Commander had us all sitting in the squad bay and he shared his life with us. He gave us a couple hours to ask questions and learn more about how he got so far in his career, what he thought of our company, why they do certain things here at boot camp and “how-to’s.” He even let us see his binder of qualifications, certifications, awards, advancements, letters of recognition and anything else he has received since boot camp. It was literally mind blowing how many certifications and qualifications as well as awards he has received.

Never in my life have I ever seen so many awards for one single individual before. Looking through all of them was one of, if not the most inspiring thing I have seen. I can speak for my shipmates as well. We all agree that since day 01when we met him in Sexton Hall and immediately noticed his precision and intensity, had instant respect and motivation for him. The questions he answered tonight, the stories he told, and the way he treats us, respects us, and wants us to genuinely succeed, makes us appreciate everything he’s done for us and we’re all so grateful.

Some of it was pretty comical when he told us the funniest moment, or what we did to make them all laugh. We have all been saying we can’t wait until graduation so we can actually talk to our Company Commanders, and now we finally have the chance. We’re looking forward to an evening with our other two Company Commanders this weekend. One big happy Whiskey family, all grown up.

To close this unforgettable day we have been so blessed to have, we were finally able to observe our shipmate play taps. He did such an incredible job. Some of us had the chills as we stood at the position of attention and paid our respects. It was so beautiful and we were so proud of them and honored someone from Whiskey is the one person playing taps.

26OCT13

We had off-base liberty today! We had to wear our inspection ready tropical blue dress uniform and garrison cover all day, but we’re glad we did. We felt so proud and honored to be wearing our uniforms, even if we did just go to Wal-Mart.

Actually, our first stop was Dunkin Donuts, then to Starbucks for even better coffee, and shopping time began. We went to Wal-Mart, Walgreens; some of us went to Five Guys Burgers, pizza places and a sports bar. Others went to the spa for a spa-day, facials, manis-pedis, massages, haircuts and whatever else they have to offer.

After running around, getting the few things you needed, food and coffee, we either went to a movie, or stayed at the hotel we rented, and just sat down. That’s all we really wanted is to just sit down, eat candy, talk on the phone and laugh with each other. It was so much fun.

We didn’t talk to our families much today probably because we were pretty burned out and didn’t want to talk about boot camp on our one and only day off in 02 months. We miss them tons and can’t wait to see them, but we needed to unwind a bit today and also, enjoy our last day together where we can laugh and have fun.

About 10-15 of our males helped a truck that broke down in front of a major intersection by pushing it all the way through the light, down the street and into the auto shop not far down the street. It was funny to watch all of them running behind it, but we were so proud of them for helping him, in dress uniform and all.

The day ended quickly but we were able to sneak in a very fast sushi dinner. It was a busy Saturday night on Rio Grande and our food order alone took 75 minutes, but by the time it came, we ate, paid and were out in less than 8 minutes. That’s the Coast Guard for you! Luckily this was only about 14 of us; otherwise we would’ve been late and received a serious punishment. We all made it back safe, feel sickly full from all the junk food and look forward to our last Sunday tomorrow. No more sugar!

27OCT13

Since we’re the senior company, we were able to go to the chapel with our dress uniforms, and share with the service where we’re going to be stationed and share a few words of boot camp advice to the junior companies. It was bittersweet because it was our last time at the chapel, and last time singing with the choir, but we were all sad and happy to have had so many great memories and moments together.

During our divine hours before lunch, instead of going letter crazy, we just spent our time on uniforms, studying and trying to unwind or come down from the sugar rush that carried over to today. It was actually pretty nice to have a somewhat relaxing Sunday.

After lunch we went off base as “viskey/ whisker” for a company run. It was so gorgeous out and we all love running and singing cadence, so it was definitely a highlight to our day.

The one thing we have been looking forward to the most since day one, aside from finding out our units or graduating, was to talk to one of our Company Commanders as a real person. One in particular, we just couldn’t figure him out. We would absolutely pee our pants, cry, run and hide, terrified of this Company Commander and he never let up, ever. He was always on point, game face, ready and willing to prove to us he hated us and we were wrong always. Little did we know, after having spent time this evening during his de-briefing, did we find out he is absolutely hilarious, kind and the complete opposite of what we thought in the beginning. It was nice to hear how passionate he is about his job, and we saw that in his teachings the last few weeks as well. He is an incredible actor and played a tough role. Listening to him talk about his family and about what was actually going through his mind the last 07 weeks changed everything for us. We left so inspired by him and appreciative about all the things he did for us no matter how bad they were, they made us better. His voice will always scare the crap out of us, even in dreams, but we will miss him and his craziness, fire, fire, fire and IT.

SUMMARY WEEK 01- 07

It seems crazy to think 07 weeks have already passed since we arrived here, scared out of our minds on that bus ride in. So much has happened; I don’t even know where to begin. I do know that going through all the stages of training, and watching transformations of our shipmates and even our Company Commanders have been incredible. It’s tough to remember all the details from things we did, since we’ve moved on and been so busy with everything, but when we are reminded of those things or see other newer companies doing them, we cringe and look back and think, “Wow, I can’t believe they made us do that.” It’s also funny to look back and see that we complained a month ago that they only gave us 05 minutes to rip our racks apart and re-make them perfectly, and only last week we had 03 minutes and were too slow.

The amount of required knowledge we’ve had to memorize verbatim is incredible, and we never thought we could do it all. We will probably have all of it still memorized even 10 years from now.

I’ll be honest, the first 04 weeks were an absolute nightmare. We all hated being tired, sore and screamed at all the time on top of having the “Cape May crud” at least twice. It wasn’t until week 05 where we finally were forced to come together as a team, and week 06 when we wanted to!

We’ve had so many proud moments like getting our colors, completing our Manual of Arms and Close Order Drill test with a score of 09 and 10, and winning the 5K race as a company. These were some of our favorite moments at boot camp because it was when we saw our Company Commanders smile. We knew we made them proud, and there isn’t a better feeling in the world in boot camp.

We’re really sad for the shipmates that either got injured 05 weeks ago and have spent all this time healing and waiting in the ward, or been sent home or reverted back 02-06 weeks. We will miss them, and it’s sad to know they won’t graduate with us, but they’ll always be Whiskey’s.

We knew our feelings would turn around about our Company Commanders in the end, and they did, thank God, and they are real people. We have the up most respect for them and appreciation for beating us until we got things right and for staying by our side no matter how bad we may have embarrassed them in from of other Company Commanders.

They play a very dedicated, disciplined and complicated role, and best actors go to all three of our Company Commanders hands down. We will never forget all the things they taught us, and I know we will all use them as a story to share in our near future that someone will benefit from, or be inspired by.

As a whole, our entire company has worked so hard to figure this all out and come together. We have come such a long way and we couldn’t have done it without each other’s support. Yes it’s been hard, and tiring, painful and sad at times, but the times we felt happy, proud, accomplished and honored, completely out weigh the bad times. We are such a tight company now and could not imagine any single one of us apart from Whiskey-188.

We trust, respect and befriend each other like family and it will be very sad come Friday when we depart. Graduation will be bitter sweet because, yes, we are proud and want to run off this base as fast as we possibly can, but, as soon as we do, we will realize we’re like a pack of dogs, and will feel lost for a little while without each other. Adjusting to a somewhat normal life again will be hard, but hopefully we cross paths again at a unit, cutter or in-passing.

This week should be fun as we already decorated/ destroyed our Company Commander’s compartment with massive amounts of confetti, fake spiders, notes, webs, toilet paper, and scorpions and so on. Since we were her first company and she did an incredible job, we’ll probably get in a lot of trouble for it, but it’s just our way of showing our appreciation and thanks!

Our week 08 ahead is a busy one filled with administration duties, arrangements, inspections, tests, drills, workouts, uniform checks and drill practice as well as colors detail. We will be super busy and hopefully have a pizza party Thursday night before graduation. One more de-briefing to look forward to tomorrow night and we are not taking a single moment of boot camp that’s left, for granted.

The next few days will be time to transition into seaman and fireman and leave the recruit cover on the shelf. It is time for us to prepare for anything and everything in the fleet. We are ready; we have been trained with fire, weapons, in-water, on boats, on land, with medical emergencies, physically, mentally and emotionally. We are “Semper Paratus.” We had the courage to continue and our motivators to help get us here. We couldn’t have done any of this without them, and wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Graduation day is Friday, November 01, 2013 at 11 am. The count on deck is 36(22 males, 14 females). WE ARE WHISKEY-188!!!

The End
-Roster Order # 48
Editor’s Note: This blog post was written by a recruit currently involved in Coast Guard basic training. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this Journal do not necessarily reflect those of Training Center Cape May, the U.S. Coast Guard or the federal government and are the sole opinion of the author. Recruit Journals are written by personnel in a high-stress environment with little time, so please excuse grammar and punctuation in the above article. The staff at Training Center Cape May do not edit the journals in any way, so as to ensure authenticity of the content and messages.

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